It was right before the start of my daughter’s kindergarten that my ex decided to leave me. We had just bought a house, and I’m still a bit bitter about all that. It’s a joke with people who know me. I am not spontaneous. I am the opposite of spontaneous, and so I planned to move back to my home town in a little less than a year, or over the next summer. It’s not ideal to me that Erika had to start school in a place she was leaving, but that’s what is was. Over the year, I went to school to begin a master’s, I bought a new car, I found a place to live and enrolled Erika in school, myself in school, and Nicholas in day care.
I don’t remember the exact timing of these things, but one thing is worth recording. As I have written about, I drank through most of college and I was not one of those people who could function just fine while drinking. I failed classes, I dropped classes, and I nearly died. I didn’t graduate on time, and I finally achieved a sobriety that was to last just before my final two classes. I graduated with a 2.3. I understand that people have different intellectual abilities and different abilities to do “school,” but this was an extremely poor result for me.
When I applied to begin my master’s at my school, they wouldn’t take me. My GPA was too low to be allowed in. Now this was a moderately priced university and I was a paying customer, but I had done so poorly in the past that they said no. That was I think the first and maybe only huge, tangible price I almost paid for my drinking behavior.
I had taken a few classes where I lived at the time, and finally based on my good grades with those, and along with some begging and pleading, they agreed to let me in on probation, and I needed a B or better in my first three classes to continue. The very nice dean who finally agreed to give me a second chance asked what had been up with my undergratuate grades. I told her truthfully that I had been a partier. Only thing was, I was the only guest at most of my parties.
I found a place to rent for me and my kids in my old hometown and actually right next door to the church of my childhood. Just as that was to take place, they told me the renovations would not be finished on time for me and Erika to start school. They said I could use the address, and live elsewhere but start Erika in school that way. The school was actually the one I had attended for second, third and fourth grade. I could have moved in with my mother, in a nearby town, and tried it that way, but I was afraid it wouldn’t all work out, and I wanted stability for her in school. So at the last minute I went out searching for something to rent.
I was 30 that year, I think. The real estate agent who took me around to look for a place had been a very good friend of mine in fifth and sixth grade. Just then, when we were 30, she was working in a real estate office (obviously) and struggling with infertility. Fertility issues have always given me pause, because I wanted children more than anything, and because my mother and her sisters had been so infertile as to only produce me between the three of them. My world wasn’t stellar at that point, that’s for sure, but I was always aware how very lucky I was to have those children. Luckier even at that time, since if my ex and I had waited to have children, it probably wouldn’t have happened.
I did find a house in time, and I stayed there with the kids for seven years. Erika and I started school, and Nicholas started limited day care. I had not wanted that for him, but it turned out as well as it could have. He did fine with it, and I remain grateful that I got to stay home with him as long as I did.
There were scary and frantic moments in all of those adjustments, and program principles are what got me through. One saving notion was the understanding I had that I could not control my ex or his actions, and I steadfastly tried not to even attempt it. I see lots of misery resulting from that scenario and I’m so glad that didn’t happen to me.